How To Choose A Pediatrician (A Mom’s Guide)
I must admit: I’m guilty of having gone through a couple of pediatricians.
It took me awhile to get it right.
Well, I think it’s because I didn’t take finding a doctor for my son as seriously as it is. I remember being asked at one of my pregnancy check ins with a nurse, which doctor I wanted to take my child to?
I was so focused on making it through my pregnancy, that the medical care of my child wasn’t even on my mind, but it should have been.
I didn’t even think about that fact that my son would be tended to by a doctor during our hospital stay. I was so overly focused on myself and my health needs.
This led me to make a rushed, uninformed decision, and it left me feeling very unhappy in the long run.
After going through some medical issues with my son and through two pediatric practices, I wish the doctor that I use now for him was who I used right from the get go.
It would have made life much easier and I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t have been nearly as stressed as I was during that difficult period if my son was under her care.
Not sure how to even go about choosing a pediatrician?
No worries. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the matter.
When Should You Start Looking For A Pediatrician?
Must like looking into a childcare provider, you should start looking for a pediatrician around the second trimester of your pregnancy.
This leaves you with plenty of time to conduct interviews, take on research, and really narrow down the providers before making a final, informed decision.
How To Find Names Of Doctors Near You
You should try to find a doctor within a 20 minute radius of your home.
It just makes the car ride more bearable when you’re toting your baby there when they feel down in the dumps, or even when they are very little.
In order to find a doctor near you, you could check with the following:
American Academy Of Pediatrics
The AAP is full of highly recommended, board certified pediatric doctors.
You can visit their website and peruse helpful medical articles and resources in addition to finding a doctor nearby to check out.
Your Insurance Company
If you call your insurance company, you will be directed to a website or given a list of names of providers who are not only near you, but covered under your insurance plan and who specialize in pediatrics.
Friends & Family
Your friends and family members will often be your best resources: they have been through the doctor search already and they understand how taxing it can be to find the right one.
They may also have other recommendations for you, based on word of mouth from their friends as well.
When you sit down and go over the specifics of your labor and delivery plan, your OB nurse will hand you a packet of things to consider.
They often times will provide a large list of physicians in the nearby area of recommended pediatricians.
Phone numbers, addresses, and insurance information will also be available on this resource to help you narrow down your choices.
Key Credentials For Pediatricians
When it comes to choosing a pediatrician based on their key credentials, a great pediatrician should have/be the following:
Things To Look For In A Good Pediatrician
Certain characteristics separate a good pediatrician from a great pediatrician. They include:
Tips & Questions For Interviewing Pediatricians
Many pediatricians will make time to meet with you since you would be a new client.
They’ll go over policies and procedures, and will sit a moment or two to field your questions or concerns. If you do decide to take the interview route, generate a list of several questions that you really want addressed.
Their time is very valuable and needs to be spent with sick patients, so try not to suck up too much of time. Five to ten minutes is plenty of time to get your answers.
You’ll learn quickly what kind of personality and demeanor the doctor has, as well as their philosophy on medicine, behavior, and nutrition. You’ll also learn about their qualifications and can ask how long they have been in the pediatrics field.
Here are some other questions you should be sure to ask:
- 1Are you part of a group practice? This is important to ask because you may be seeing a wide range of doctors in this case, and not just the one you are interviewing with.
- 2How are emergencies handled? This is especially important since new parents are loaded with questions and concerns, that can’t always wait to be addressed the next day during business hours. So, is your pediatrician open to helping out? Do they want you to go to an emergency room? Is there a nurse on call to field your questions?
- 3Are you yourself a parent? This was so important to me because it showed me that they truly understood what it meant to be cautious and concerned.
- 4What is your philosophy? This helps you understand if the doctor prefers to take a holistic approach to healing, how they feel about circumcision, breastfeeding, and so on.
- 5Which hospital are you affiliated with? This is important because some parents only want their child going to certain hospitals in the area.
While an interview may not tell you everything there is to know about your doctor, it will definitely shed some light upon their practice, their personality, and their expertise.
If I did my homework right off the bat, I wouldn’t have had to switch around to different practices.
For me, the third time's a charm. But, it is pretty nice to get things right so your doctor is familiar with your baby from birth (and vice versa).
Consider some of the interviewing tips and questions above, and be sure to look for some of the outlined qualities and characteristics in a good, highly trained and professional pediatric doctor.